Academics

The Frederick Gunn School values individuals and their ideas. Our students join generations of alumni before them who have learned to be curious, to question, to debate, reflect, and share what they know.

Small classes are the norm, with a student-teacher ratio of 5:1, which means that each student’s contributions are expected and welcomed. A comprehensive curriculum, with 119 courses to choose from (including 32 honors and AP classes, and Independent Study Projects (ISPs), helps our students to master different subjects and become confident articulating their ideas in spoken and written forms.

Our teachers are passionate about their subject matter and love what they do. Our students get to know them as their instructors, advisors, mentors, role models, coaches, and dorm parents. Their guidance and encouragement help students reach beyond their expectations and preconceived notions. Each student at The Frederick Gunn School receives the guidance, attention, and support of a team of talented faculty members dedicated to their academic and personal success.

The goals of our rigorous academic program are:

  • To develop in our students the lifelong learning and leadership skills they need to be active and responsible citizens, both locally and globally.

  • To prepare our students for what’s next as they continue to learn and grow, in college and in life.

Find out what makes academics at FGS different.

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A Day in a Student's Life

Academic News

The Frederick Gunn School flag

On May 31, one day after the school celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2021, underclassmen and faculty gathered for Investiture, during which the new student leaders, including the Prefect-Elects, are introduced. 

This year’s Investiture service was notable in that it featured the presentation of underclassmen prizes and awards that in a traditional year would have been awarded when the whole school gathered for Prize Night. To view the Investiture service in its entirety, including the presentation of these awards, visit the End-of-Year Events page.
 

English Department faculty

Roderick M. Theobald P’09 ’14 of the English Department faculty delivered the Baccalaureate Address on May 25, using his backpack as a metaphor for memory, as he spoke about the "picture memories" that ground us and guide us forward through life. Theobald is retiring at the end of this month, after four decades of teaching, including 23 years at The Frederick Gunn School. In keeping with tradition, as the Baccalaureate speaker he selected the readings for the all-school program, which included the Walt Whitman poem, “I Hear America Singing,” read by Ed Surjan, Educational Technology and Library Director, and Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese,” read by Kara Gritti of the History Department faculty. Theobald also selected a piece of music, “The Road Home,” by Stephen Paulus, which was performed by four senior vocalists: Erin-Elizabeth Ryan ’21, Drew Sutherland ’21, Yolanda Wang ’21, and Maggie Xiang ’21.
 

Judith Altmann

The 2021 Speaker Series concluded April 1 with a presentation by Holocaust survivor and Connecticut resident Judith Altmann, who shared her incredibly moving story. A member of the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Speakers Bureau and Vice President of the Holocaust Child Survivors of Connecticut, Altmann has extensive experience speaking in schools.
 

banding station on Kent Land Trust's Skiff Mountain South Preserve

By early April, seniors at The Frederick Gunn School are required to complete what’s known as the Civic Changemakers Project. A diploma requirement, it’s an opportunity for students to work independently on a service project in their local communities, and put into action what they have learned across the school’s four-year citizenship curriculum under the Center for Citizenship and Just Democracy
 

Students in Model United Nations 2021

In recent years, students in the Model United Nations (MUN) co-curricular program have participated in conferences at Harvard and Georgetown universities. This year, MUN Advisors Ed Surjan and Karoline Theobald P’09 ’14 created a virtual MUN experience for students who participated in the Winter Term co-curricular program. “MUN Winter 2021: Major Global Issues Forum” introduced students to eight major international issues in as many weeks, using readings, videos, and group discussions led by guest speakers, including several alumni.
 

The Highlander Podcast on Spotify

A new podcast, created by the editors and staff of the student-run newspaper, The Highlander, recently debuted on Spotify. The first two episodes feature interviews with two students who are writing and producing original music; with a member of the Engineering Club, who is working with Engineers Without Borders on a water resources project in Tanzania; and with two members of the Black Student Union, who have been educating the community about Black history and culture during Black History Month.
 

Laura Tierney, The Social Institute

Laura Tierney, the founder and CEO of The Social Institute (TSI), brought her entrepreneurial spirit, and her strategy for how to use social media and technology in positive ways, to The Frederick Gunn School Speaker Series on February 4. The school partnered with TSI, the leader in engaging student-led lessons related to social-emotional health, social media use, and technology, to bring its #WinAtSocial Program to students starting last month. The program’s unique, gamified social media curriculum – co-created with over 50,000 students at 60 schools nationwide – offers interactive lessons that are scaffolded by grade level and user-friendly for both remote and in-person learning environments.